I wouldn't go so far as to declare the action genre dead in the water
but I think there can be little doubt that Tarantino's contributions
are going to force the genre to restructure itself. I know that I
was left thinking, after watching Reservoir Dogs, "Wow, all those
movies I used to like really suck now." Of course, that's an
exaggeration but I think his influence is/will be a significant one.
I heard one person say it best, imho. "The age of heroic competence
is over." I think it's really a matter of a young nation maturing
just a tiny, tiny bit. Our perfect heroes no longer serve the same
vital function they did in the national psyche. Superman has given
way to the Dark Knight and WOlverine. Likewise, the flawless action
hero has given way to the vastly flawed Tarantino non-heroes. Note
I didn't say ANTI-heroes 'cause those have been around forever.
Tarantino gives us non-heroes and I think that, whatever you may think
of his work, that has to be a big step.
Now, he's surely not the only or the first person to do so but through
happenstance, he does so at the right time and in the most visible
fashion. These non-heroes populate British fiction and, I imagine,
works from all sorts of other countries but they have been very rare
in America. A young country with its immature idea of the perfect
hero. Now that's evolving - it probably always has been evolving but
Tarantino and others of his ilk have sort of given the whole process
a big kick in the ass to get it going quicker.
To which I say "Cool!"